The Legal Tender is Open

By Inez Ross

Courtesy Photo

The restaurant in the little village of Lamy, 18 miles south of Santa Fe, has reopened for weekends after being closed for many years. It’s being run as a non-profit venture with proceeds going to the Lamy Railroad and History Museum located in the same building. Lamy is the Amtrak stop for Santa Fe, the first New Mexico place the early scientists saw when they arrived to work on the Manhattan Project.

The Legal Tender is Lamy’s oldest structure. It was built in 1881 as a general merchandise store, and the bar was added in 1894.  In 1953 it became the restaurant/saloon called the Pink Garter. Remodeled in 1970, it became the Legal Tender and in 1986 was added to the National Register of Historic Places. In 2006 the Legal Tender was donated to the Lamy Railroad and History Museum and now offers a unique and charming venue for weddings, parties, or movie filming.
We remember going there in the seventies to have delicious steaks, listen to the rinky tink piano, and have our photos taken wearing the big hats kept for that purpose atop the player piano. We were able to re-live the experience recently and enjoy a dinner served by the excellent all-volunteer staff, have our photos taken next to the life-size cutouts of Billy the Kid and Pat Garrett, tour the museum, and buy the poster which shows the ghosts who still visit. The Victorian Lady in White is about to descend the stairs, and the the ghost of a little girl is shown sitting on the bottom step.
Cindy Lu and the Legal Tender Crew put out weekly notices about the dinner entertainment and menu specialties. For more information, visit their website at Cindy reminded us it’s best to have reservations. Call 505-466-1650.
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